27 May 2018

Mauli - Pandharpur Yatra Day 2

Day 2 of our trip was planned for the Shree Sant Gajanan Maharaj temple, Mahadhvar ghat, Pundalik temple and Vishnupad temple. We started our day 2 with Shree Sant Gajanan Maharaj Temple. Unlike the very old Vitthala temple, this temple is quote new and is built of white marble. The main temple has shrines of Sant Gajanan Maharaj and Vitthala Rukumai. The temple complex also has accommodation facility, which are quite well maintained. 
We visited the Vitthala Rukumai temple again to get a glimpse of the temple in day light and walked down to the Mahadhvar ghat, which also has the Pundalik temple, Pundalik who got lord Vitthala to Pundharpur. Settled on the banks of River Bhima, the town has many ghat with many shrines to visit.  The best way to view a ghat is from the river, so we took a boat ride at the Bhima river, to enjoy the ghat view from the river. The river is shallow and devotees easily cross the river by foot. The ghat was full of devotees, taking dip in the holy waters. 

These is displays of Vitthala Rukumai to get photographs clicked with
We hired a rickshaw to drive to Vishnupad temple which is 4km from Vitthala Rukumai temple, if you take road or you can as well take boat ride from Mahadhvar ghat. The temple houses the padhuka(foot print) of Lord Vishnu along with carvings on the pillars depicting Vishnu avathar. The temple is submerged in water when the river is full. The annual festival here is in the month of Margashirsha, the ninth month in Hindu calendar, when there is a chariot process of  Lord Vitthala, the incarnation of Vishnu. Being a sangam of Chandrabhaga and Pushpavati(Yamuna), mostly you can see is pilgrims performing funeral rituals of their relatives. 
Vishnud was our last place in Pandharpur and we drove to Dahigaon after lunch at Durvankar, which I will narrate in my next post. To read more about Pandharpur, please visit the complete posts here.

19 May 2018

Mauli - Pandharpur Yatra Day 1

After hearing from the Gyaneshwar Maharaj Wari group at our housing society about Pandharpur and the celebration, we planned our trip to Pandharpur on one of a long week ends in Feb. Pandharpur is around 220km from Pune and 360km from Mumbai. We started Friday morning, took the Pune-Sholapur Highway, the 4 lane road is too good and till around an hour before Pandharpur. You take a deviation from the highway to drive an hour more to reach Pandharpur, this road too is maintained very well. 
Pandharpur, Pandharpur Yatra, Pandharpur Wari, Mauli, Vitthal, Vittobha
A Wari on the way to Pandharpur

Pandharpur, Pandharpur Yatra, Pandharpur Wari, Mauli, Vitthal, Vittobha
Paduka(foot print) of the saint
Pandharpur, Pandharpur Yatra, Pandharpur Wari, Mauli, Vitthal, Vittobha
Statue of Lord Vittal at Tukarambaba Ashram

As we neared Pandharpur, we were blessed with may waris on the way, and we were happy to have planned our trip the day before Ekadashi. Just few minutes before Pandharpur town is Saint Tukarambaba Ashram, a huge status of Lord Vittal catches your eye, showing its all about Mauli, the mother, the caring mother, Vithoba, Lord Vitthala for the next 2 days of your trip. We reached our hotel, freshened up and left for the visit to Vitthala Rukamai Temple. The temple town is full of devotees, especially if you plan near Ekadashi. The road to the temple has shops selling, idols of Vittal Rukmai, Haldi Kumkum, Brass and copperwears, they really make great souvenirs. We didn't have prior booking for temple darshan, so all we could go for was the Mukh Darshan, were you get the glimpse of the Lord from a distance, charan sparsh darshan takes you to the foot of the idol, were you can touch the idol, but the queue for the charan sparsh darshan takes more than 6 to 7 hours, so we had to settle with Mukh Darshan, which took us half an hour. We were told at the temple information centre there is prior online booking for darshan, which offers you with VIP entry directly. Like in any other temples were Vitthala(Lord Krishna) and Rukumani idols stand next to each other, here there are two separate shrines in the temple complex with the idols of Vitthala and Rukumai
Pandharpur, Pandharpur Yatra, Pandharpur Wari, Mauli, Vitthal, Vittobha
The rare entrance of the temple with the view of shikara of Rukumai temple at left and Vitthala temple in the right
Pandharpur, Pandharpur Yatra, Pandharpur Wari, Mauli, Vitthal, Vittobha
Shops selling idols of Vitthala Rukumai
After the visit to the temple, we had our dinner at Durvankar Dining Hall and called for the day. Durvankar is opposite to MTDC near Pandharpur railway station, ambience is no fancy, but they serve very tasty authentic Maharashtrian Thali.
Pandharpur, Pandharpur Yatra, Pandharpur Wari, Mauli, Vitthal, Vittobha

About Pandharpur: Pandharpur is a pilgrime place in Maharashtra. About the place, tales goes back to the loyal son Pundalik, who after realising his mistake of ill treating his parents, serves his parents with great devotion that lord Vitthala come to earth and knocks his doors to give him darshan. Pundalik who was serving his parents throws a stone at the door asking the lord to stand on the brick to avoid the wet muddy rainy floor. He visit the lord after serving his parents, begs for pardon for making him wait and requests him to stay back on earth to bless his devotees. The lord stays back and a temple was built at the place, so is the lord depicted standing on a brick. A temple for Rukumai, Lord Vishu's wife in this incarnation as Krishna was also built next to Vitthala temple.

To read more about Pandharpur, please visit the complete posts here

6 May 2018

All About Pandharpur Wari...

Pandharpur, Pandharpur Yatra, Pandharpur Wari, Mauli, Vitthal, Vittobha

When we moved to Pune last year, little did we know about the Pandharpur Wari. My daughter's school reopen got postponed due to Palki and we were told there would be severe traffic congestion in Pune due to the Palki's who on their way to Pandharpur would cross Pune on that day. I came across may heritage groups organising photo walks as well to click the celebration. Well known by Mauli song from Marathi movie Lai Bhaari, all that we knew was, an annual celebration takes place in Pandharpur every year, where millions of devotee walk in for the celebration. Being a Puneri majority society, our housing society hosted a Wari of Gyaneshwar Maharaj, making arrangements for their accommodation and food. And so did we visit them, to know more about the Wari and the significance. A group of around 50 people of all ages, were resting in our society clubhouse and there was a group which was singing bhajan and at a corner was the brindavan/tulsi plant in a metal pot.  The group had scheduled to take the next 200km in 20 days to reach Padharpur for Ashadi Ekadashi celebration.

Wari is the procession were in devotees walk bare foot from their homes to Pandharpur carrying the paduka(foot prints) of holy saints Gyaneshwar Maharaj and Tukaram Maharaj for the annual celebration. While devotees gather in Pandharpur every Ekadashi, 11th day of Hindu calender, the grand annual celebration takes place on Ashadi Ekadashi, the 11th day of 4th month of Hindu calendar. The devotees start their trip accordingly, around 21 days prior to reach Pandharpur on the day before Ekadashi. Many small groups of disciples of Gyaneshwar Maharaj and Tukaram Maharaj, join together on their journey to finally end up together at Pandharpur. The temple town is filled with devotees, visiting temples, taking holy dip at the Chandrabhaga river/Bhima river, singing bhajans. The celebration is best showcased in the Lay Bhari movie linked below, do watch it.

Ashadi Ekadashi this is year is celebrated on 23rd July 2018

To read more about Pandharpur, please visit the complete posts here